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Changes in Drink Coupons

‎03-02-2010 04:23 PM kimramirez
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‎03-02-2010 04:23 PM

We eliminated cash onboard our aircraft about a year and a half ago, and now we’re taking one more step toward becoming paperless.  Effective today, we will no longer sell Drink Coupon Books at the airport.

So what does this mean for you?  If you still have drink coupons, don’t worry—we’ll take ‘em!   And, Rapid Reward Members who earn 16 credits will continue to receive the existing drink coupon booklets.  As well, our Business Select Customers will continue to receive their free drink coupon with each purchase.
 
If you don’t have a drink coupon, you can purchase one of our tasty beverages on your next flight with a credit card.  You can choose from Michelob Ultra to Bud Light, Coastal Ridge wines to a variety of cocktails…and more.  Be sure to check our Menu in your seatback pocket for our current beverage list and this quarter’s Signature Special!


 

34 Comments
I have been flying SWA for years. I use my SWA Visa card all the time and am able to get "free flights". This spring I am flying to CA with my daughter and 2 grandsons on Rapid Rewards and wouldn't have been able to do it without the Rewards. People are always asking me how I am able to fly so regularly (They think I'm rich!) and I tell them about Rapid Rewards. It's a great idea and getting the free drink coupons is just a littler perk! Thank you SWA for your clean planes, friendly staff, and exceptional phone personnel. I won't fly any other airline!
re-circulated coupons.... come on gary kelly stop bean counting just tell us you dont want us hard working employees to be able to have a free drink.
Ryan13
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Is there a deadline existing purchased coupons must be used by, or are they good indefinitely? Thanks! Ryan
New Arrival Anonymous3309
New Arrival
Hey Anonymous, You must not have experience working at any airline besides Southwest. If you did, you would know that having a free ANYTHING would result in termination. I'm not sure if you saw that our company lost money over a few quarters last year. We need to be counting all the beans we can, and if it means keeping you honest, bring it on.
Kim It's been reported that we can't use drink coupons for Monster Low Carb energy drinks after 4/1/10. Can you confirm that and explain the rationale? The drink coupons I have in hand clearly state"1 Coupon = beer, wine, mixed or specialty non-alchoholic drink" Since Monster Energy drinks sell for only $3 onboard, and beer/wine/liquor sell for $5 onboard, it can't be because of the cost.
cxn
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Hi, What is this I hear about not being able to use my coupons for Monster Drinks. Thanks!
blusk
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Anonymous 19:12 and worldflyer, I asked the folks who are handling the communications on this, and I was told: Beginning April 1, Monster Energy Drink will only be available for purchase using credit cards. We introduced Monster as enhancement to the Customer onboard experience, as well as an additional way to increase revenue onboard. However, we have had trouble evaluating the success of Monster and gauging Customer demand because of the way the drink coupon program is currently structured. So beginning April 1, Monster will be offered as a for-sale item only.
agwat
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If Southwest is going 'paperless', why keep sending Rapid Rewards customers (which there are ALOT of us) drink coupon booklets? I forget mine half the time anyway. Maybe we can show our Rewards card and somehow have the flight attendents scan it or something for our drinks. I'm sure they can think of something. There is no need to give RR customers the booklets and yet NOT sell them to other customers in my opinion.
As a person who does not drink alcoholic beverages because I am allergic, I have to wonder if "gauging customer demand" (note small "c") is really the reason. Buying others a drink on occasion is fine and well and I do it, often. Showing SWA Luv and all, and it would be nice to actually have a perk for myself. HOPE those who are watching your nickels and dimes can appreciate there is plenty of ways to make $ on a flight. Giving away a few drinks that cost you maybe $0.50/can or less is an EASY way to keep your customer smiling. Please reconsider what is important.
Dean2
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I frequently travel as a business select customer. I rarely if ever drink alcohol on the flight as I'm generally on my way to a meeting or on my way back to see my children. I'm very disappointed in the decision to no longer allow the use of coupons to access the monster drink. It seems that the drink coupon for me will be a waste of paper. Please reconsider this decision.
I flew to Denver after April 1 and was told I could not use RR drink coupon for a Monster drink. I was very disappointed. No reason was given when I asked why to the flight attendant. It makes no sense. Very poor customer relations to a long time loyal customer. Please, please, re-consider this crazy idea or give us some other non-alcoholic perk for all the hundreds of dollars we spend!!
Gavin2
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I just found out about the change regarding Monster drinks on a flight this afternoon, and let me register my displeasure in the strongest possible manner. I have been a frequent flier on Southwest since the Company Club days. I've even been served peanuts by Herb in an Elvis suit. Why you would make me pay for a $3 Monster but give me a free $5 cocktail makes no sense at all. Even Southwest has the occasional brain cramp, and this was clearly such an instance. The economics of this decision seem misplaced as well. The free drink coupon is part of the draw for Business Select (2 drink coupons if I was willing to have a connecting flight). Since I am already A-listed, I doubt I will ever purchase Business Select again until this policy changes (the extra credit isn't worth it without the Monster drink). There goes an average of $22 in revenue each week. For a company that regularly is smarter than the hub and spoke carriers, this was a surprisingly poor decision. Please reconsider, particularly for the benefit of those of us who rely on Southwest to get us to our destination energized rather than cocktailed.
Not a sound decision to not allow use of drink coupon for monster! Would love a real explanatin rather than snide comment after my 4th business select flight in 5 days. Like others I use SWA for business and like a choice was a nice touch.
I do not understand the reasoning behind not allowing the use of drink coupons for monster energy drinks. Considering it was the cheapest selection for coupon use. As a frequent business traveler I generally do not like to drink alcohol on a flight, because I have to drive once I arrive at my destination. Very disappointed.
esch
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I'm also puzzled about not using drink coupons for the Monster drinks. It makes no sense to me.
Tom23
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I am not sure what else can be said after Gavin. No official reaon has been given for this change that they knew had been planned for over a month. Yet, just today I got my second set of coupon booklets since learning of this policy change and the coupons still clearly states: 1 coupon = beer, wine, mixed or specialty non-alcoholic drink. Possible reasons that point to the discontinued use of the coupons are: Flight Attendents were reusing coupons and taking home Monster Energy Drinks. Or that more people were actually using the coupons for the Energy Drinks than they were ever before. OK, whatever the reason here are some possible solutions: 1. Monster Energy Drinks cost TWO (2) coupons. 2. Don't serve Unopen. All Monster Drinks must be served open, like alcohol, by Flight Attendent. To that end, no one can just take them off the flight. All Monster Drinks must be recyslyed on flights knowing how many on flight and how many empties. End of theft. 3. Give Frequent Fliers Coupons specifically for Monster Energy Drink Coupons only 1 or 2 per book intead of 4 of any drink coupon. I am trying to come up with solutions becuase you have given no reason for not continuing this service.
Joey
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I'll join the chorus on the very irrational decision to disallow coupon usage for a non-alcoholic energy drink in favor of a more expensive alcoholic beverage. SWA needs to consider the volume of frequent and Biz Select passengers that are enroute to work or other business settings. SWA is rendering coupons worthless for a large block of its travelers. Well, perhaps that was their intention all along.
We at Southwest understand your questions about the recent change to our acceptance of drink coupons for Monster Energy drinks onboard our flights. We originally added the Monster Energy drink choice as a revenue generator, and we need to evaluate the true demand for (and value of) this non-alcoholic specialty drink. Currently, drink coupons that include specific wording indicating they can be used for “non-alcoholic specialty drinks” will still be accepted. Of course, our drink coupons remain good for beer, wine, and mixed drinks. The bottomline is that we proudly give away far more product onboard our aircraft than most U.S. carriers; for those Customers who can't, or choose not to, consume alcohol, we have many other free options.
Not happy about the new drink coupon policy. For us non-drinkers (when flying), getting a monster drink with a drink coupon was a real plus. I am a loyal, frequent Southwest traveler and have loads of coupon books. Now I can't do anything with them. Why don't you make the Monster drinks 2+ coupons? Why make that d...rink the only drink that cannot use the drink coupons? I don't get it. I'm surprised at Southwest being so penny wise and pound foolish.
Mark_S
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I second all the non-Southwest (read: Sandy Nelson) comments above. I realize Sandy has to defend the company position, but it logically does not compute. The real truth is that energy drinks cost the airlines more than one ounce of liquor or a beer because the manufacture's profit margins on them are enormous. From the Christian Science Monitor, 6/7/2006: "Today the $3.5 billion energy-beverage market is 6 percent of the nonalcoholic beverage industry, which includes soft drinks... thanks to peppy consumer demand and profit margins that are three times that of soda". I appreciate Sandy's clarification that "Currently, drink coupons that include specific wording indicating they can be used for 'non-alcoholic specialty drinks' will still be accepted". Now if only that information were passed down to the flight crews. On two recent flights, I was refused an energy drink in exchange for a properly marked coupon that I received in the mail one day before the initial flight. After strongly pointing out to the Flight Attendants that if Southwest were any business other than a federally regulated airline, the consumer protection agencies would be all over them for not honoring their own coupons (Think Safeway, Fry's, etc.) plus the poor business sense of treating their most loyal customers in this manner (those are the ones that got the coupons), I was finally "slipped" an energy drink on the first flight (I was told to keep the coupon). I will now carry a print-out of this blog (with Sandy's comment highlighted) with me on all my Southwest flights until I exhaust my coupons!
Mark S, Thanks for sharing your additional feedback. I'm so sorry that this has been a source of frustration for you! Our Flight Crews have been briefed and received communication about this, so what you described shouldn't happen again. Laurel
I'll keep this short and simple. I rarely drink alcohol and I have lots of unused coupons. Please restore the use of coupons to purchase Monster energy drinks. I WANT MY MONSTER ENERGY DRINK!
I must add my voice to the thread about drink coupons no longer being accepted for Monster Energy drinks. Thanks to this blog at least now I understand the possible real reason: actual cost to Southwest: Monster Energy drinks may cost more than mixed drinks or beer or wine. But I do not want to drink alcohol on board an aircraft because I always drive afterwards. So I am very very disappointed that one of the pleasures of Southwest - the drink coupons - is no longer available. Harley Cudney
I was on a southwest flight yesterday and was told that I could not use the coupons for Monster despite the coupon specifically stating that I could. Not all flight attendants are aware of this policy. I fly over 80 one way trips a year on southwest and am very disappointed about this decision. It tells me that southwest cant afford the $1.50 that it cost them to offer me the drink in return for my $12,000 a year I spend on airline tickets for Southwest. Who cares if it cost them a few cents more than the alcohol drinks cost to offer me a energy drink.
I flew to Sacr this past week and was told I could not use RR drink coupon for a Monster drink. I was very very very disappointed. I asked why to the flight attendant and she said she didn't know why. This makes no sense. Very poor customer relations to a long time business customer. Please, please, re-consider this crazy idea or give us some other non-alcoholic perk for all the hundreds of dollars we spend!! Why is the only perk for those who drink. Most people who fly business can not drink during the flight as we have to land and drive? Really it was not that big of a deal for you guys tro dropped this. You can tell how much it was liked by how many you had to put on plaines.
I am reading that there could be a problem getting Monster energy drinks for my teens....no way they are getting alcohol! Anything I can do to ensure that my coupons (which do say non alcoholic specialty drink) will be valid without drama onboard? I know Sandy and Laurel above say they will still accept the coupons.....travelling with three teens will be challenging enough, and I will be using MY coupon for the alcohol! The kids will want the Monster drinks....
TAG
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I was on a flight from Houston to New Orleans last month for a business meeting and was told that my drink coupon could no longer be used for a Monster energy drink. I just received a new booklet of drink tickets and happened to notice the language that the ticket can be used for a "specialty non-alcoholic drink." I then checked my briefcase and saw that the same language was on the ticket that the flight attendant rejected. Then I ran a search on the internet and found this thread. I join in the chorus of displeasure being expressed about this change of policy. I also note that the stated policy of continuing to accept coupons with the “specialty non-alcoholic drink” language is not being followed and there appears to continue to be a failure to communicate this policy to the flight attendants. Out of curiosity, when I fly next week and the attendant again refuses to give me a Monster in exchange for my ticket, what are the “specialty non-alcoholic drink” options available to me at that point?
Tom10
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I had the same experience regarding the Monster energy drink. I attempted to use a drink ticket I recently received and it was refused, although it clearly states "specialty non-alcoholic drink" as one of the options. I, too, am very curious as to what "specialty non-alcoholic drinks" are available for sale other than the Monster energy drink. I'm a big fan of Southwest Airlines and have been an A-List member for the past 3 years, but this new policy is not only very confusing, but very disappointing coming from Southwest. I spoken with other frequent Southwest customers and they too are baffled by this decision.
This is rediculous that you can't use your coupons for monster energy drink. You stated above that if you don't drink alcohol, then we have many other options for you... BUT YOU DON'T. Everything else is free and a waste of a drink. I think you're missing the point. The point here is that if we don't drink alcohol and we can't use them for Monster, they go un-used and area a waste of paper and time. Let's be real... As soon as you started serving Monster for drink coupons, no one was ordering alcohol anymore. Because of this, Southwest started losing money on the drink coupon deal... Plain and simple... It was eating into revenue. The only thing Monster is being evaludated on by Southwest is how much money it can make them. You see... Us business people can't drink alcohol because we're on our way to the office, seminar, presentation, etc. WE CAN'T DRINK. Since we can't drink, the drink coupon becomes useless because the only other things you have are soda, water, juice, and coffee... AND THEY'RE FREE... This makes it so no one can use the drink tickets. What a waste... You've clearly pissed the people off... Now is where you try to course corret and start coming up with crafty ways to fix it.
GBrown
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I wrote to SWA re this issue and received the same rationale noted above, that using drink coupons for Monsters gets in the way of evaluating popularity. Now that you've had a few months to make the assessment, what say you SWA? With others who've written I agree that the only way this policy makes sense is if (1) SWA pays more for Monsters than for alcohol; (2) tickets now go unused by those of us who need to arrive alert (most business travelers); or (3) related to #2, Monsters were enormously more popular among drink coupon users than alcohol, resulting in increased coupon redemption rates (and restocking costs for Monsters) and no corresponding increase in revenues. My guess is that all 3 of these factors apply. Considering these coupons are perks for those of us who pay premium fares or fly SWA often, this is a horrible customer relations decision. Feeling the love?
I register my complaint too! I'm a huge frequent flyer...diamond status with Delta, and on shorter hauls with Southwest. I don't feel like boozing it up on a flight, and really am considering throwing all these coupons in the garbage as they have no value to me. I am normally upgraded to business in Delta, it makes me not miss my free Monster so much. ;-)
I think this is crazy I asked what a non-alcoholic drink was if it not a monster then what is it good for. I dont drink alcohol and have over fifty drink coupons and want a monster, so what im going to do is order 10 beers and not drink them, make Southwest pay 5.00 dollars a drink instead of 3.00. Is this how they treat repeat customers.
I too think the removal of Monster drinks for coupons is a bit strange, but hey, they are a private company and can do what they want. Sure we can get upset but if you are that ticked, then just do not fly Southwest any more. Done. And to those who talk about how they cannot drink because they have to drive or go to a meeting--then you shouldn't be having a Monster energy drink either--you'll just be jittery and hopped up on suger. All but the frailest of people can have one alcoholic drink and not be over the limit of .08 to drive. Caffeine and sugar also cause impairment and with the size of the Monster can, the crash after the rush is pretty bad. So beware. It irks me that in this country we call one thing "good" and another "bad" when they in fact are both drugs. One is legal for anyone, anytime (caffeine); another is illegal over a certain amount and under a certain age (alcohol). So for Southwest to use cost as the main differentiator between them makes perfect sense to me. Monster just has a huge markup and it winds up costing more to them than beer/wine/liquor.
I have only been flying SWA for a year now, and up to this past weekend it had been great. Between my partner and I, we have three flight credits and a small stack of drink coupons. Much to our dismay, our drink coupons (which specifically state that they may be used for a non-alcoholic specialty drink and have no expiry date) were NOT accepted by our flight attendant for Monster. Please make sure all flight attendants get the memo about the old versus the new drink coupons because we were not happy with this individual. He may have been "funny" but clearly not very smart in delivering customer service. I bet he wouldn't have been happy if I gave him a coupon for free chicken, only for him to find out at the restaurant that management suddenly decided to not accept them anymore because they were so popular. Just because your program changes doesn't mean you can make all the old coupons completely worthless to those who don't want to drink alcohol on the plane (at least have a printed disclaimer!).